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Special Report

Is President Obama embracing Hillary a good thing for her?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 25, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete longshot and just letting loose. I think Hillary came in with the both privilege and burden of being perceived as the frontrunner.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at the polling we've seen nationally, you can see the polling which is taking place here in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump. Guess what, Bernie Sanders does a lot better than Hillary Clinton does against Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Senator Sanders doing his best. Donald Trump talking about polls on the stump. We have some new polls out tonight. Here is the newest FOX News poll from Iowa in the Democratic race. Hillary Clinton up six. But you can you see she's lost since December, 2015. And there you see Sanders gaining on her. Then we go to New Hampshire, and the lead for Bernie Sanders is pretty astounding, 22 points in this latest poll out tonight. And nationally Hillary Clinton goes below 50 percent for the first time, and you see the spread.

The issue that is leading here when asked about among Democratic primary voters, honest and trustworthy, 30 percent, right experience, 22 percent, cares about you, 17. Can win in November, only eight percent. There's some of the latest polls. Let's bring in our panel, syndicated columnist George Will, Juan Williams, columnist with "The Hill," and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, state of the Democratic race, George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Close. Well, it's not close, actually, when you think about it. We only have two states to go by, and one of them is a landslide at this point. We have the president clearly weighing in at this point on Hillary for a number of good reasons. He knows that five out of six times the parties tried since the Second World War to extend from two to three terms, five of the six they failed. Most of his achievements, or many of them at any rate, are written on water because they're done by executive order, so it's particularly important to not have a Republican who can undo them as fast as he did them.

And any time a president's party is turned out after his two terms, it's a mild repudiation. So I think he has his thumbs on the scales, and you can see why.

BAIER: Juan, the president embracing Hillary Clinton. Is that a good thing for her, because, frankly, the motivation, the momentum in the Sanders campaign is pushing back about what the president didn't get done from the left, saying that he was a disappointment from the progressive point of view?

JUAN WILLIAMS, THE HILL: Well, I think that's a legitimate point. But you've got to keep in mind if you're doing Hillary Clinton's strategy, you want Barack Obama's base. You want those young people. You want those minority voters. You want people who had been with the kind of energetic left that boosted President Obama past Hillary Clinton back in '08. And the question is, how do you recapture that momentum?

BAIER: Let me interrupt you. The latest poll has the young voters 89 percent --

WILLIAMS: Right.

BAIER: -- going for Bernie Sanders.

WILLIAMS: Correct. And so that's where I was going with this, that at the moment what you see is that those young voters are not plugging into Hillary Clinton. I would particularly point at young women, who you would think would identify with potentially the first woman president. They're not. And I think they don't know Hillary Clinton or they consider her yesterday's news.

And what you're seeing with the Obama embrace, I think, is an opportunity for Hillary Clinton to point to Barack Obama and say to that base, don't forget. Your champion, the guy you like so much, his numbers are still very good among Democrats, like 80 percent, that he likes me.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I don't think Obama's inclinations as expressed, I thought rather mildly pro-Hillary, are a matter of affection. I think it's the fact that with her she has begun to wrap herself around him, around his legacy. You saw it in the last debate. She kept saying, Bernie's going to abandon Obamacare. I will continue it.

Of course it's completely ironic because Sanders is the one who wants to achieve the ultimate dreams of Obama, the ones he couldn't. He was the one who openly said he would prefer a single payer system like the Canadian system, but he obviously wasn't able to achieve it. Sanders is the one who you would expect to be his logical ideological heir.

But I think Obama is calculating that the country is simply not going to elect Sanders, and if Sanders loses, a Republican is elected, everything he did, almost everything he did, I think including Obamacare, disappears and he becomes a historical parenthesis. So what he I think is pushing for, he'd like to see, is any Democrat, meaning if it has to be Hillary, it will be Hillary, he thinks she has a better chance, so that legacy such as it is, is continued.

BAIER: Meanwhile, it's his FBI and his Justice Department that really holds the key to whether Hillary Clinton wins or loses.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's why I think less important than Iowa, less important than New Hampshire, is the Comey vote. He's the head of the FBI. His will be decisive. If he makes a criminal referral, I think their candidacy probably will disintegrate even if it's rejected by the Department of Justice.

BAIER: Let's take a look at Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor, talking to Neil Cavuto in 2014.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Are you going to run for president?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: No. This is a two party country. I suspect it will always be. I find it hard to see how a third party candidate could win. But in any case, in my future, it's my politics. My future is working a little bit at my company, a lot at my foundation, and trying to do other things. I do not believe that a third party candidate can win, and I can tell you categorically I am not running for president. You can rest assured that in two-and-a-half years when there is a presidential election, or two and a third years, I will vote. And I will vote for one of the parties of the two major candidates, two major parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Sometime between then and now, things changed. "New York Times," "Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year's presidential race and has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on it. Mr. Bloomberg commissioned a poll in December to see how he might fare against Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, and he intends to conduct another round of polling after the New Hampshire primary on February 9th to gage whether there is indeed an opening for him. If Republicans were to nominate Mr. Trump or Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a hardline conservative, and Democrats choose Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg, who changed his party affiliation to independent in 2007, has told allies he would be likely to run." George?

WILL: Well, Mr. Bloomberg has looked at the array, the menu of candidates, and decided that what the country needs now is a second bossy big government billionaire from the east side of Manhattan. He may be right. He may be wrong. We haven't elected a northeasterner for 56 years, Jack Kennedy in 1960. Since then we've rejected three Massachusetts nominees, Dukakis, Kerry, Mitt Romney. This time we could have four from the northeast, Clinton from New York, Sanders from Vermont, Trump and Bloomberg from the eastside of Manhattan.

There's a record of New York mayors thinking the country wants to hear from them, and they don't. In 1972 John Lindsay, who started as a Republican, became a Democrat, entered the Democratic contest for president, got 1.2 percent of the primary vote that year. In September, 2007, Giuliani was 20 points ahead and had a third more money than Mitt Romney and John McCain combined. He spent $65 million and got one delicate. It didn't work.

BAIER: Florida was the fireball back then. Didn't work. Juan, if he gets in, would he take from Democrats or Republicans?

WILLIAMS: I think he'd take a little bit from both, if you just have x Democrat column and y Republican column. But the fact is he's counting on extremes. He's counting on people perceiving Trump or Cruz and Sanders as extremes.

BAIER: Or a wounded Clinton.

WILLIAMS: Right. And then allowing him to come up the middle.

BAIER: The one thing that's really interesting is if he does get in and no one gets to the magic number of 270 electoral votes, the race then goes to the House of Representatives. Each state gets one vote. And because of the way it's figured with Republicans in control, one would assume that the Republicans would take that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, number one, that's every journalist's dream. All of this hope that there will be decided in the House before we die. Just watch. That's all we ask for. The other is Bloomberg entering, whether in the convoluted way of the House deciding or just straight up and down, he will help elect a Republican. He will take far more from the Democrat than form the Republican. And I think it could be decisive.

WILL: The most important election, arguably in world history was settled that way in the House. It was 1800, the first time in the history of the world power had been peacefully transferred from one party to another. Jefferson is elected, the House did its job. And I kind of like the idea. You're doing it in the House where Wyoming is equal to California.

BAIER: There you go. It could happen. You heard it here first.

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